DT 26958 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 26958

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26958

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja.   I’m actually doing the review on the right day this week – it is Thursday isn’t it?
Not sure about the setter of this one.  There is a Queen clue but it didn’t feel like a RayT to me but perhaps he’ll drop by and let us know.  Plenty of American flavouring scattered through the puzzle so beware!  I quite enjoyed it but found it a tad tricky in places, but there are enough ‘gimmes’ and a few anagrams to get you going.

Definitions are underlined in the clue.

The clues I like most are in blue and the answers can be seen by highlighting the space between the curly brackets. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a           Style the rear in operation here, perhaps (6,6)
{HARLEY STREET} – This is a place where you might have an operation, perhaps even to ‘style’ your rear as it is a place where you can find plastic surgeons!  It’s an anagram (in operation) of STYLE THE REAR.

8a           City of Gold, region found by Pizarro finally (7)
{ORLANDO} – This city in Florida is a charade of the usual gold (2), a word for a region or country and O (PizarrO finally)

9a           Farms managed tailless game (7)
{RANCHES} – American cattle farms are a word for managed and then a board game without its last letter (tailless).

11a         Painter‘s painter bound to flip about height (7)
{RAPHAEL} – To get this Italian painter of the 15th century you need to follow the usual abbreviation for painter with H(eight) inserted into a reversal (to flip) of a bound or jump.

12a         Cheese  plant? (7)
{PRIMULA} – Double definition.  This genus of plants which includes the primrose is also the brand name of a make of spready cheese.  This was one of my last in as I was trying to think of an obscure type of cheese! Not sure it’s really fair to use a brand name in this way.

13a         Origins of Hell and damnation eternal, say (5)
{HADES} – Take the first letter (origins of) from each of the next five words in the clue.

14a         Greet with nice fizzy bubbly (9)
{ENERGETIC} – An anagram (fizzy) of GREET with NICE.

16a         Biting sou’wester’s beginning while in freezing cold (9)
{SARCASTIC} – A biting comment perhaps.  Start with S (Sou’wester’s beginning) and follow with a word meaning while (2) inserted (in) a part of the world where it’s freezing cold.

19a         Bird chasing the French label (5)
{TITLE} – A small bird followed by a French definite article gives a label, as in name.  Does this one work?  To me the word ‘chasing’ should indicate after, not before.

21a         Fat girl stuck in a position … (7)
{ADIPOSE} –  A word for fatty body tissue.  Take A (from the clue) and a physical attitude, as for a photograph or painting, and insert (stuck in) an abbreviated girl’s name.

23a         … sweating and tense before massage (7)
{TOILING} – Sweating in the sense of working hard.  Start with T(ense) and follow with a word for something you would get if you were having a massage.

24a         One puts up with English clergyman (7)
{ERECTOR} – E(nglish) followed by a clergyman gives someone who puts up or builds.

25a         Note, one relating to large amount (7)
{BILLION} – An American term for a bank note followed by I (one) and a word for relating to or about gives this large amount.

26a         Bird‘s mostly pert, naughtily holding ends of robe (6,6)
{STORMY PETREL} – This small seabird is an anagram (naughtily) of MOSTLY PERT with R(ob)E (ends of) inserted (holding). Even with half the checkers it took me ages to unravel this one for some reason!


1d           Where choppers stack up, kept outside (7)
{HELIPAD} – The choppers are helicopters.  A place where you would find them is a word for a stack reversed (up in a down clue) and then a word for kept or owned placed around it (outside).

2d           Trails fugitives free from America (7)
{RUNWAYS} – Take some fugitives and remove the A(merica).

3d           Cream for English tart that is not empty (9)
{EMOLLIENT} – Moisturising cream is made from E(nglish), an American slang word for a tart or gangster’s girlfriend, the usual abbreviation for that is and then NT  (N(o)T empty).

4d           Take off south on journey (5)
{STRIP} – S(outh) followed by a journey gives word meaning to take off as in disrobe.

5d           Position of Queen, a piece capturing knight (7)
{RANKING} – This is position on a scale or in a society. Start with R(egina) and follow with A (from the clue) and a chess piece and then insert (capturing) N (knight in chess notation)

6d           Tire or tyre? (No, another part of car) (7)
{EXHAUST} – American and English ways of spelling a part of a car but this is a different part altogether. It also means tire.

7d           Press forwards on park, taking on United (6,6)
{FOURTH ESTATE} – This is a posh way of referring to the press or media, after the Lords Temporal, Lords Spiritual and Commons.  It’s a word for forwards, as in go forwards, followed by a country park with U(nited) inserted (taking on). I think the definition is quite well concealed here.

10d         Google‘s anger with Chinese vacillating (6,6)
{SEARCH ENGINE} – Google is an example of one of these.  It’s an anagram (vacillating) of ANGER CHINESE.  I think there should be a ‘perhaps’ or at least a question mark as Google is a definition by example – there are lots of others.

15d         Passionate former wife with guy possessing sex appeal (9)
{EXCITABLE} – Start with the usual term for a former wife and follow with a guy, as in guy rope, and insert (possessing) a slang term for sex appeal (2).

17d         Dress is ripped without desire (7)
{RAIMENT} – A word for ripped or torn placed around (without) a desire or goal.

18d         One choosing to support a daughter? (7)
{ADOPTER} – This word could describe someone choosing to take on a child of someone else.  It’s A (from the clue) and D(aughter) followed by (support in a down clue) a word for someone choosing or picking.

19d         Sack, right, by time waster (7)
{TRIFLER} – This person who is a waster (of time perhaps?) is T(ime) followed by a word for sack or ransack and R(ight).

20d         Small getting six in Test (7)
{TRIVIAL} – Insert the Roman numeral for six into a test or ordeal.

22d         Almost doesn’t start in good time (5)
{EARLY} – A word for almost without its first letter (doesn’t start).

Quite a few nice clues but for me favourites were 1a, 21a and 18d.

The Quick crossword pun: {knot} + {red} + {arm} = {Notre Dame}

90 comments on “DT 26958

  1. Crossword of the week for me and I’m sure it was a Ray T looking at the quickie too. Lot’s of good clues but 1a and 10d particularly stood out. 3*/4* for me and for what it’s worth I found this easier than yesterday!

    Thanks to Pommers & Ray T


  2. We struggled with this one. In fact it actually took us longer than the Toughie. 19d eluded us for quite some time. The cheese brand was new to us but 10d helped to confirm it’s existence. We agree Pommers that it didn’t quite have the feel of a RayT whose offerings we usually appreciate and enjoy. No doubt all will be revealed in due course. Thanks setter and Pommers.

  3. Definitely RayT’s fingerprints everywhere – 18d in the Quickie, for example!

    3d – I thought it was Moll Flanders.

    Thanks to RayT & Pommers

  4. Definitiely a Ray T for me. Agree with Stan about 3d, I think the E for English is doing double duty and the girl’s name is an archaic term for a ‘tart’. The one that held me up the most was 19d as it took me a long time (longer than solving the rest of the puzzle and more) to work out which word was the definition, particularly as the checking letters looked so much as if an idler might fit.

    Thanks to Ray for a very nice start to a sunny holiday Thursday – my favourites include the brill 12a and 21a. Thanks to Pommers too. Bit of a late start for you today?? :)

    1. Morning Sue
      Yes, I actually went to bed at a sensible hour last night!

      Similar experience with 19d which was my last in. For ages I was thinking the defintion was SACK and all the American references made me start looking at something to do with sacking quarterbacks, d’oh!

  5. Morning pommers

    I agree with Wozza that this was crossword of the week. I thought this was one of the most enjoyable puzzles from RayT for a while.
    3*/4* from me. Thanks to setter, and to pommers for the review.

  6. Forgot the Toughie tip again. It is a very nice Warbler but has two or three quite tricky unusual words in it. GIve it a go.

  7. I’m with Wozza on this one as well. a definite RayT production (tarts, birds and fat lasses sweating before massages). Excellent fun all round. Thanks to pommers and RayT.

  8. Hola pommers, not finished this yet but I just have to say 13a doesn’t work for me, it’s only half a clue surely? there is no definition here??

    1. Hi Mary – you must be getting better if you’re arguing with RayT :grin:

      13a is one of those where the whole clue is the definition but I agree it doesn’t quite come off.

      1. Hi pommers, I very rarely get on with RayT unfortunately, even when I can do them I usually don’t realy like them, I have been known to like the odd one or two ;-) , of course I don’t know if you knew, but Rufus is my favourite :-D

        1. but how libelulle? its obvious what the answer is but if there is a definition there I can’t see it?

          1. I took the definition to be the whole clue, specifically with “Origins of Hell” – referring to the greek god and abode of the dead.

            1. Ah, I took the definition to be “Origins of Hell and damnation eternal, say”, which makes it an &lit which doesn’t quite come off.
              If the def is just “Origins of hell ” surely some bits are doing double duty?

              1. Yes I agree with you pommers, if origins, or origins of hell is the definition then there are definitely words doing double duty!

                1. Yes, if you take out “origins of” as the wordplay indicator and then take out the next five words as the fodder then there’s nothing left, so the whole clue must act as the definition to avoid double duty somewhere.

                2. My ref to “Origins of hell” does not refer to the definition, like you I took the whole clue to be the def, but the reference to origins of hell etc works for me because you can argue that the god/underworld referred to are the initial versions of hell.

                  1. but still libelulle origins meaning initial is doing double duty, I still say it’s not right but I’m no expert

  9. Thought it was hard today so give it ****/***,took me a long time to get going until i had the framework in place,remembered the first part of 7d as a word for the press but needed the across clues to get the second.Agree 12a was ‘iffy’ and taking a bit of a liberty,almost impossible without the down clues-i was also seeking a ‘rare’ cheese name.Anyway on reflection enjoyable.

  10. OK finished but with a good bit of help from pommers, thank you pommers, this was a difficult one for me at least a three star, I did not think 13a worked, there is no definition, no fav clue but 24a if I had to choose one, lots of you love RayT but apart from the odd occasion I just don’t get on his wavelength

  11. Managed to finish without help today – confidence restored – and thank you Pommers for giving it 3* ! Thought there were so many clever clues. Although I am a beginner, it did look like a Ray T. I find it difficult to get started with his puzzles, but once under way I can make progress.

    26a fooled me to start with – Having done a bit of birdwatching I was familiar with Storm Petrel – but not the Stormy, so threw me for a while.

    Thank you to Ray T if it was you and Pommers for your review.

    1. Well done William. Worth remembering from a Wine and Wisdom/GK puzzle point of view that the Storm(y) Petrel is also known as Mother Carey’s Chicken.

      1. Thank you Sue – something else I never knew ! I must admit, over the last few weeks I have learnt a lot of new words on this site. Sign of a mispent youth ?

    2. Morning William

      I’ve with you on the petrel ! I spotted STORM PETREL quite quickly but it didn’t fit so I was trying to spot something else, when I suddenly twigged that the spare Y could go on the end of STORM, d’oh! Quick check in the dictionary and it comes up as an alternative.

  12. It definitely felt like a Ray T to me – lots of tarts, sex appeal, the Queen, and all the quick crossword clues and answers are single words. What surprised me was that, since he lives in France, he calls 12a cheese!!
    I thought this was fairly straightforward for one of his – probably between 2 and 3* for difficulty but at least 4* for enjoyment. Just in case people don’t know by now he is my favourite setter!!
    7d took me ages to work out even if the answer was pretty clear. For some reason 2d held me up – even with alternate letters I just couldn’t see it. I was also slow to get 19d.
    Lots of great clues including 1, 11, 14, 21 and 23a (because of how they go together!) and 3, 6 and 15d.
    With thanks to Ray T and Pommers.

    1. Hi Kath
      I’ll get better at spotting a RayT puzzle as I blog more of them! I can tell a Jay from a a kilometre by now!

      1. I think a Ray T puzzle is about the ONLY one that I could spot at a distance even if I didn’t know that it’s Thursday (and that last Thursday wasn’t his!) :smile:

          1. … is that better?!! Actually I didn’t know that it was as specific as that. The things that I learn on this blog … :smile:

              1. … I have to say that I’ve learnt things that I almost wish I hadn’t – they are always the ones that I remember!! :grin:

    1. Yes Mike and that’s indicated by ‘Origins of’ but in crosswords words are not allowed to do double duty so to speak, so if Origins of means the starts of the letters, it cannot be used as the definition as well

      1. Thanks Mary. I think I see where you are coming from. So glad to see that you’re feeling much better. :D

        1. Hi Mike

          This is my reply to Mary posted above but a bit lost in a mixed-up conversation:-

          Yes, if you take out “origins of” as the wordplay indicator and then take out the next five words as the fodder then there’s nothing left, so the whole clue must act as the definition to avoid double duty somewhere.

          1. Works OK for me, regardless of whether it complies with “rules” that are not legally binding – insofar as I am aware?

          2. I’ve been trying to defend it in a sort of mixed-up way but it works for me too – almost! Not the greatest definition but if it’s solveable then it works! Try an Araucaria puzzle if you want to see a setter taking real liberties but they still ‘work” :grin:

            1. Enough Already from a good Jewish Boy!

              As Mike in Amble says “Isn’t 13a just start letters?”

              1. Try ‘Janus’, now sadly deceased, but there are plenty of his puzzles in the archive.

  13. I obviously had the wrong head on this morning. I struggled until approaching London when it all fell into place. 19d and 26a were the last ones in.

  14. Very enjoyable on the whole, but I needed Pommers’ hints for quite a few. Thank you Pommers. Last one in was 2d, probably because I didn’t think the answer fitted the clue “trails”. By the way, does anyone using an iPad have a similar problem to me in that I cannot get the answers given in the curly brackets?

    1. Highlight the hidden word and press define. If that doesn’t work then press copy and paste it in to the search box.


          1. Wozza – thank you very much for your advice – I have now managed to get ‘define’ and it worked.

  15. Many thanks to RayT and to Pommers, a very enjoyable crossword and a very entertaining review.

  16. Blimey. I’m struggling. If I had known it was RayT I wouldn’t have started. 7d was unknown to me and I am having trouble with 13a which is puzzling me quite a bit

  17. I see the Telegraph (and other papers) are using more Olympics as an excuse to fill up the front page with a giant picture. Call me old fashioned, but I like a bit of news on the front of newspapers. The Olympics must be saving them a fortune. Still, since I’m not buying the paper any more, just borrowing one of a colleague when he’s finished with it, I suppose I can’t really complain.
    Haven’t looked at the crossword yet. Collywobbles – now I know it’s Ray T I might not bother.

  18. There have been some comments recently about the Chambers On-Line Dictionary being “off-line”.

    Glad to say that it has now reappeared! It’s not as comprehensive as the BRB – the real thing – but, for all those as idle as myself, a lot less heavy lifting!


  19. Hi all. Back again from lunch and still reasonably compus mentis, well as much as I ever am :roll:

    Don’t see why there’s been so much angst about 13a when 1a and 18d are pretty much the same. Take out wordplay indicator and the fodder and there’s nothing left for a definiton in either. No complaints about these though?

    1. Hi pommers maybe because they’re not so blatantly obvious as 13a ;-)
      Off to eat my chinese now…

      1. That’s because the whole clue as definition doesn’t quite work in 13a. The others are great!

        1. Just run 13a by pommette and she gave me the answer straight away, with the comment – “I’ve given you the answer so it must work, what’s the problem?”! (sounded a bit irritated at the interuption of whatever she was doing for such a trivial thing as a crossword clue!). She has a point though! How picky can one get?

  20. Evening all. Setter here…

    Many thanks to pommers for the review, and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Ah! So it was one of yours! Thought it probably was but wasn’t sure, I’ll get better at spotting you in future. Nice puzzle so thanks muchly, but why all the American bits? Sacking quarterbacks – D’oh, am I stupid or what? Had American on the brain by that time! Loved the &lits (apart from 13a)!

  21. Done OK on the photos today. Gratuitous girls, bit of a car and a couple of bits of sea, AND a helicopter – how cool is that? Thanks Ray :grin:

  22. Late on duty today but I enjoyed this one by RayT as usual. Favourites were 6 12 and 21. Very busy these days but I always find time for RayT!

  23. Really enjoyed this, you only had to look at the quickie to see this was RayT, 19d last in, 21 and 23a faves. Realise how much of an amateur I am as i got 13a straight away but the discussion, double duty et al has me thinking I should really study these… oh sod it just enjoy!! Cheers all

  24. QUESTION……………

    What does it mean when a clue ends in “…” And the next starts with “…” as in 21a and 23a? What is the link?

    Probably too late to ask today, but I will ask again tomorrow if no answer.

    1. If you read the two clues as one sentence, it does make sense, although in this case, the image conjured up is not one that you migth want to think about for long!

    2. Mark L-H,

      There is not always a definite link between such clues – it’s best to disregard almost all punctuation!

      (These setters will do anything they can to fool you!)

      But, today I thought that the “ellipses” ( … ) between 21a & 23a worked very well in adding to the surface readings! But both clues can be read and solved independently!

      (My favourite new word today is “Ellipsis”!

      1. Agree about punctuation Stan – ignore it, apart from the odd occasion when it is important :grin:

  25. Thanks to Ray T & Pommers for the review and hints. Needed 7 hints to finish. Had never heard of 7d, one for the memory banks. My cryptic muscle has been damaged, Mum still in hospital. Favourite was 1a. Very Autumnal in Central London.

    1. Hope that your Mum is OK – what a worry – mine is 90 and I’m always worrying about what is around the corner. :sad:
      Very Autumnal in Oxford too.

  26. A struggle but highly well worth it.
    Got there in the end unaided. But took too long.
    Many thanks to Ray T and pommers.
    Do so enjoy Thursdays

  27. Going to bed now- lunch catching up!. Autumn approaches and it’s now cooling down at night!
    G’night all.

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